Friday, February 22, 2013

DYI and Inspired projects

If you are on the dahlhaus art facebook page, you will notice that I occasionally post links to artwork or dyi projects that have been inspired by my designs! I've been finding these images on pinterest when I look up my work or my designs (you can click on the images to find their sources).

I am a big dyi fan* and really am blown away that people are becoming inspired by my work**.  It shows me that this is a design that will stick for a while and could become a total 'classic'- and to me, that's amazing! Really, I think what most makers and designers can hope for in this over-saturated, image-based, everything's been done kind of world is to be able to come up with a recognizable and identifiable mark. 

This week has been good- although I kept getting steered off course.  This seems to happen a lot these days where I have a plan for the week and a wack of things that are very promising come up and push my plan off course.  The one thing I did manage to do was to meet up with this was have lunch with  Jessica Bell who is a Vancouver artist I've been wanting to meet for some time.  Her work caught my eye when I was part of the Cheaper Show in Vancouver, and ever since, I felt she would be someone I'd want to meet (but it took 3 years to happen).  I seriously can not wait to visit her studio in the coming weeks - we have a little trade in the works that I totally thrilled about. 

Tonight is our Studio building post-holiday party that our saint of a landlord is putting on for all the artists.  Have I told you how great our landlord is?  It really is not often you meet a guy who buys a building in the city, converts the building into artist studios, charges fair rent, helps people out with moving in, building and up-dating their studio, buys kilns for a ceramic co-op, maintains the kilns so they keep working good, and then puts together a building-wide holiday party every year or 2 to get everyone together.  Seriously, this man is a saint and needs to be nominated for an award. 

*although if you say to me at a craft show: 'I can make that!' I might challenge you to try! My work is harder to make then it looks ;)!
**Of course, I'm not keen on people copying my work for profit or sale, and would really appreciate a credit link on Pinterest or blogs. This seems to be happening less and less- with linking to the original source, which is a shame.  Artists and makers work really hard to create their work, and a little nod in their direction is a great way to say 'thanks'.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Sewing Inspiration

I have been at home with sick boys after a 4 day weekend where we went to Vancouver Island to visit friends and family, so things at the studio have been put on hold for a few days here.  Fingers crossed, between the laundry, hand-washing, tea-making and constant cleaning, I'll be able to avoid this bug they picked up...

In the meantime, work on the website is resuming and tax prep needs to get back to speed, so maybe it's not too bad.  As long as I have patient customers and shops, I'll get through this little set-back and be back to speed before too long. 

Our local fabric store is closing down so I have been picking up thread, notion, and fabric for a quilt I've been wanting to make.  I found this amazing old measuring tape at a thrift store on the weekend and couldn't help picking it up for the sewing box.  Somehow working with old tools and pretty thread makes me want to dive into the quilt project, even though I'm a little hesitant considering all the work I have going on in the studio, not to mention the prospect of having to move in the next few months.

On that front, our place still isn't listed for sale yet, so we are sitting tight while the boys try to finish up the school year.  We aren't sure where we will find our next home and neighbourhood but are pretty open to moving a little closer to my studio in East Vancouver.   Crossing a bridge to get into Vancouver can at times be problematic (traffic!!) and bus fare costs more between North Vancouver and the city, so those are a couple more reasons to think about moving back to Vancouver.  We will, however, dearly miss our neighbours, the walking trails at the end of each road, the quiet street, and of course, the school and community that that has brought us.   We have had some really great years and times in this place- for which I am so grateful!

Hope you have a great week! Stay well!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Glaze inlay and up-coming workshop thoughts

Wow! I so appreciated the comments from yesterday's post giving feed-back on some of my new work!  I was recently reading this blog post about 'what's up with blogs' and feedback being so much quicker to receive on facebook or instagram, where as the process for blogs is taking a lot of time these days (passwords/security codes etc).  I did think about whether I had been commenting as much on blogs as I used to - probably no, I might like something or want to say how much a post connected with me, but don't always have the proper time to spend.  So when I get more then 2 comments here, it feels like a big deal- so thank you! It means a lot!

While we are on the new work front, I posted a couple of photos on instagram from my first firing of the year.  I thought I would try a glaze inlay method- which is kind of like a mishima method but using glaze instead of on the bare clay.  I was pretty happy with the results as one-offs, especially the first mug, which kind of has a water-colour/japanese floral design look to it.  At least that's what I thought when I saw it.  The first mug combines my sticker/stencils with then the glaze inlay lines for the stems and leaves. The second is just the glaze inlay idea with a super simple pattern.  If you want to try this method yourself, basically you glaze your piece and then apply a wax resist and let that dry a bit.  Using a sharp tool you draw/carve into the glaze and then sponge off the extra wax/glaze from inside the lines.  At that point you would fill in the lines with a different glaze.   Obviously this method probably works best for simple drawings- not super detailed drawings, but it's worth testing out.  I think the biggest drawback to this method would be that there is no going back, only going forward.  In other words if you make a mistake- I guess you could try to fill the line with the original glaze and hope it covers it up?  Something to think about. 

On another front, the Canadian Clay Symposium is coming up (as well as NCECA).  I generally really like going to workshops and conferences on ceramics as they can be inspiring.  My biggest complaint that I walk away with, however, is that all too often, the presenters spend most of their time just talking about how they construct their pieces and not enough time talking about decoration.   I realize that the time crunch of presenting work and limited materials often means that presenters aren't glazing their work during the demo, but that is what I would like to see in a demo. 

Tomorrow I am going to this event.  I'm curious to see what it's about.  Sometimes it's nice to connect with new people and to try new things, don't you think?  You never know where it will lead!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Now for something completely different

There are times when I kick myself for making work that's so much work to make.   When I started
the dahlhaus collection, I wanted the work to stand out, to be recognized without having to turn over the bottom to see the stamp.  Using a complex glaze method (that I thought no one would be crazy enough to copy), I developed patterns and a glaze style that was uniquely my own.  All that to say that on the 3rd-4th day of glazing a kiln-load of work, my hands are tired and I wish I hadn't made it so complicated and hard on myself.  And then I pull out a glaze full of lovely patterns and I'm back to seeing why my work has stood out and is in demand and I love what I do.  I truly believe that work that is hard to make is worth making and really forges new ground within the history of a craft. 

All this to say, however, that there are times when I long for 'simple' and when I wish that that mere form and colour could inform the work.  Also the busyness of all the patterns all together can get a little overwhelming for me, and there are times when I think it would be nice to have a hit of simple colour in the midst of the patterns when they are all grouped together. 

So here it is, my slowly evolving colour-fade line of ceramics.  It's a small collection of work that I've been mulling over, occasionally deciding to glaze one or 2 pieces in a kiln load, just to see what I think.  This year I decided to be a bit more deliberate with this work.  I am in the process of thinking about a Rothco-inspired vase series with some taller cylinder vases, just trying to sort out how the lines and edges will over-lap to best create this work. With the images above, the bottom bowls are the first 'dipped' edges that I worked on back in 2010, and then last year for the blue and white show, I made the mugs, then before my last photoshoot, I worked on the vases and large bowl.  There are slight variations to how the white glaze meets the colour glaze that I was testing out.  Please don't hesitate to let me know what you think!

*Thank you to all those who have purchased teapots from my shop over the past couple of weeks that the Bon Appetit article has been out! I am glazing more teapots this week (and making more) and I very much appreciate the support of my work!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Pretty in Pink

Pink isn't a colour I'm naturally drawn to- I always find it interesting that everyone's eyes are different and that some colours that are pleasing to some, aren't as pleasing to others.  If I was to get into pink in a bigger way, it would be the mostly pale shade of pink, bordering on blush pink, in geometric, minimal designs.  Perhaps a flowery poppy pink would be fun at times, but for this post, I stuck with the simple and sublime, just in time to shower you loved one in petals of pink for Valentines day.  Click on the images to click through to the Etsy shop listings!